I was a strange child. When asked by adults that typical question, ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ I had an unusual answer. Volcanologist or an archaeologist. I think they were more impressed that I could say those words at a young age to be honest.
Now that I’ve (debatably) grown up, I haven’t followed through with those ideas. Strangely, all through school I was incredibly unimaginative; I focused more on the sciences and had little love for English lessons, which I mostly remember as merely exercises in grammar and spelling.
Around some point when I was sixteen, I started trying to write. This inevitably led to a couple of years posting angsty juvenilia on DeviantArt, which, while terrible and we shall never speak of it again, it did allow me to start experimenting with creativity. Before that, any writing was limited to dreaded creative writing exercises. I think you can imagine what dull things I came up with.
To be honest, I think appreciating literature comes with maturity and age. In the UK you can find yourself reading Shakespeare or Chaucer early in your teenage years. This is a forced choice, purely because Shakespeare almost equals English in education here, but a foolish one, as it requires maturity to appreciate it. Put simply, the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is lost on 13-year-old boys because at that age you don’t understand what love or romance is. When I was at school it was still seen as a punishment if a teacher made you sit next to a girl.
Hitting the fast forward button, writing is my prefered way to express myself imaginatively. It’s a way of posing questions and exploring ideas. A blank page is the opportunity to make something from nothing. Plato might rail on poets and other imitators as detrimental to the ideal republic for being deceptive, but Aristotle is entirely right about imitative things, such as plays, as being cathartic. Just as he says audiences have feelings expunged by viewing theatrical performance, I have my own personal catharsis by writing.
And what is the subject of this personal catharsis? Quite simply, I get to expunge the desire to drop everything and go off on an adventure.I get to expunge my own boredom with a reality that is unappealing to me.
That, and I also no one can tell you what to do, which is always a bonus!